Wednesday, January 8, 2014
I know what it feels like to have these hands, cool and soft, stroking my brow when I was a child or even a grown woman and sick with a fever. I know what these hands look like when they are wielding a pen, tapping a calculator, accounting books open on the dining room table, ledgers for the real estate business she owned with her brother piled high around her. I know how these hands, thin and elegant, could get lost in my father's square blunt fingered grip, yet gentle his anxiety with just a touch. I know the easy care with which these hands held my children, and guided them, palms light on their backs, through so many years and airports. I know how they folded themselves around a long wooden spoon, stirring Christmas pudding in a large metal bath-sized tub, then pouring the batter into tin after tin, each one papered and greased for the baking. I know what these hands look like when she holds them out for me to fasten her watch, or when she slips off her rings for the night. I know the quiver in these hands now, as she lifts a fork to her lips, not quite sure she will find them. I know how she splays her fingers as her granddaughter, 19 years old to her 91, carefully rubs off the old nail polish and then strokes on a fresh new manicure. I am picturing the way she raised these hands before her face, palms out, admiring the iridescent shell pink of the new coat of polish, knowing she's still got it, she always will.